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Maine poised to allow ranked voting for president after state ruling

The Hill logo The Hill 7/16/2020 Marty Johnson
a large white building: Maine poised to allow ranked voting for president after state ruling © Getty Images Maine poised to allow ranked voting for president after state ruling

Registered voters in Maine could be the first American voters to utilize a ranked voting system in November's presidential election after the state's GOP failed to produce enough signatures to block the system from being used.

Back in 2016, Maine voters approved the switch to a ranked voting system, with a subsequent state law paving the way for it to be used in presidential elections, The Associated Press reported.

Ranked voting allows voters to rank candidates when there are at least three in a race. If no candidate reaches 50 percent of the first-place vote, another round of voting is triggered in which the bottom-placing candidates are removed and voters' second choices are reallocated to the field that remains.

Maine Republicans had attempted to gain enough signatures to force another statewide vote to veto the law change. Since the state would be voting on whether or not to let the system be used for presidential elections, ranked voting wouldn't be allowed for this election cycle.

However, the party fell 1,600 signatures short of meeting the required threshold, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said Wednesday, per the AP. The state GOP had reportedly submitted 72,512 signatures, but only 61,334 of them were valid.

Jason Savage, executive director of the Maine GOP, told the newswire that the party was surprised by the outcome, saying that it would like challenge the decision.

Though seemingly trivial, Maine using the unorthodox system in November could have an effect on November's election. Maine has only four electoral votes, but it's one of two states in the country - the other being Nebraska - that allocates its electoral votes proportionally instead using a winner-take-all system.

In 2016, President Trump won the state's 2nd Congressional District. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the rest of the state, gaining three electoral votes to Trump's one.

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